How to Cultivate a Growth Mindset
Failure strikes fear in the bravest of hearts, but a toxic aversion to mistakes is detrimental to personal growth. According to Carol Dweck, a fixed mindset - the idea that our skills and abilities are static, unmoving, and unchanging - holds us back from unlocking potential in areas we didn't know we could master, more often than not because we're too scared to make a few errors along the way. But what if we changed the narrative? What if we began to believe that we can learn how to be good, or even great, at anything we put our minds to?
So what is a growth mindset? Well, it's just that, a mindset where you believe that with time, energy, and a little effort our skills and abilities can grow. People with growth mindsets see failure not as evidence of unintelligence, but as a means to enhance existing abilities, and as a springboard for personal and intellectual growth. Growth mindsets encourage us to rise to a challenge, and realise that success and failure are really two sides of the same coin.
More often than not we choose to follow paths that already affirm what we believe we are talented at, and whilst we may succeed, it's a limiting mindset that snowballs our fear of failure even further. By branching out into the unknown we may not just learn a new skill, but more about ourselves, and the world around us. Ready to take the leap? Below are some of our best tips on practising a growth mindset.
We're all allergic to imperfection, but imperfection is all around us; nature isn't clean cut, and neither are we. Imperfection is the spice of life, and some of the greatest discoveries and most beautiful things can be found within flaws. Learn to love what's wrong as much as you love what's right, and all those closed doors suddenly swing wide open.
Think of challenges as taking the scenic route; it's easy to choose the motorway to get somewhere as fast as possible, but it's more exciting to choose a country lane and all the twists and turns that come with it. Challenges are really just great opportunities waiting to be discovered.
Change Your Language
When something doesn't go as well as planned, instead of telling yourself you've failed, tell yourself that you're learning. A life without failure is a life without growth, and when we reframe mistakes positively, the process becomes as light-hearted as our attitude.
Cast Approval Aside
So often we do things for a pat on the back, but when we start doing things for ourselves the results becomes truly rewarding. Take jogging for instance; if you take up running to lose weight for the approval of others on your next holiday, you're going to hate every second of it. If you start jogging for the joy of being able to use your body in such a way, then suddenly it doesn't matter if you can only go for ten minutes before the stitch kicks in, what matters is that you did it.
Enjoy the Means
Focusing on a goal is well and good but if we're striving for a happy life it's impossible to reach that goal without appreciating the happy moments that define it. Instead of letting your mind always wander to the future, hone your focus on the now, enjoy the process, the ups and the downs, because the future is always going to arrive much sooner than you think.
There is No Rush
Make these four little words your mantra. There. Is. No. Rush. Dweck's favourite term is not yet. If you're working on something and it's not quite there, it just means that it's not quite there yet. Focus on the process often yields better results than rushing towards the end goal as we put more time and effort into what we do. Success is always just around the corner, but there's no need to rush to get there.
Own Your Attitude
Redefining yourself as someone with a growth mindset, who is willing to make mistakes and fail from time to time to better themselves will make you more open, less judgemental, and kinder to yourself. Above all, just remember to always enjoy the journey, wherever it takes you.